While some say the American Dream no longer exists, Mi Sueño Winery is proof that hard work and passion can take you from dishwasher to winery founder.
Image from Mi Sueño Winery
Rolando Herrera began working in restaurants and wineries in California’s wine country as a dishwasher, line cook and even a stone cutter starting at age 15. He then joined the grape harvest laborers at Stag’s Leap Winery around age 17 and he has never left a vineyard since.
He went on to be cellar master, assistant winemaker, winemaker, and director of winemaking at various California wineries. And in 1997, Rolando took his passion and experience from all of his past positions and made his first Chardonnay, naming it Mi Sueño, which is Spanish for “My Dream”. Today, thanks to Rolando, this Napa Valley winery is hands-on from farming to bottling. The are so fortunate to report that their lands were spared in the fires that ravaged the area this year.
We were thrilled to be able to try Mi Sueño’s 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a vivacious wine that is well balanced with beautiful layers of fruit and dark chocolate aromas that lead into berry and warm spice notes on the tongue. 24 months of oak aging give the wine mature notes and smooth tannins. This wine is perfect served with umami-loaded dishes. Try it paired with a beef stew, lamb, and vegetarian eggplant or mushroom dishes. The winery recommends pairing it with gingerbread, too… hello perfect Christmas wine. Also, Mi Sueño has shared their recipe for Pork Pozole, another perfect pair.
- 6 cascabel peppers- seeded and deveined
- 6 pasilla peppers- seeded and deveined
- 6 new mexico peppers- seeded and deveined 4 garlic cloves
- 1?2 cup grapeseed oil
- 4 lbs pork shoulder- cut into 1 inch cubes
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dry oregano
- 1 can (105 oz) white hominy- drained 1 large white onion- nely diced
- 1?2 head of green cabbage- thinly sliced 1 bunch red radishes- thinly sliced
- 4 limes- quartered tortilla chips
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Toast the peppers, a few at a time so you do not overcrowd the pan, until fragrant. Place the toasted peppers in a bowl with 3 cups of hot water and soak for 30 min- utes to rehydrate. Puree the peppers with their liquid and garlic in a blender until smooth. Strain the puree to remove the seeds and then set aside.
- Heat the grapeseed oil in the pot over high heat. Season the pork to taste with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, add the pork in batches and sear until golden brown. As each batch of pork browns, remove and place in a bowl. Once all the pork is browned, drain the oil from the pot and then add all the pork back to the pot with 10 cups of water, the pepper puree, bay leaves, and oregano. Bring the pot to a simmer and then
- cook until the pork is tender- about 2 hours. Add the drained hominy and cook for another hour or until the pork falls apart when tested with a fork. Remove the bay leaves from the pot and serve in a large bowl. Place the onion, cabbage, radish, and limes on a plate and serve on the side with a bowl of tortilla chips.